UAE: Paramedic dies from MERS, others infected (Update)

April 9, 2014 by Adam Schreck

A paramedic in the United Arab Emirates has died after contracting Middle East respiratory syndrome and five others have tested positive for the virus, the Gulf nation's interior ministry said Friday.

The death came as Jordanian health officials reported a new case of the disease, which is related to SARS, and three days after authorities in neighboring Saudi Arabia reported that 11 people, including health-care workers, had contracted the disease in the western city of Jiddah.

All six paramedics who contracted the virus in the UAE are Filipino nationals working for the Interior Ministry in the oasis city of Al Ain, according to a report by state news agency WAM quoting the ministry. It did not provide further details on their identities.

Al Ain is near the border of Oman and is about 160 kilometers (100 miles) inland from the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi. The UAE is a federation of seven emirates that includes Dubai.

The five infected paramedics have been placed under quarantine and people who have recently been treated by them are being checked for infection. The agency said the five were found to have contracted the virus during routine check-ups.

MERS belongs to a family of viruses known as coronaviruses that include both the common cold and SARS, which killed some 800 people in a global outbreak in 2003. It can cause fever, breathing problems, pneumonia and kidney failure. It was first identified in 2012 in the Middle East, where most cases since have been diagnosed.

While MERS does not seem to spread as quickly between people as SARS did, it does appear to be more deadly. Recent studies suggest that camels are the main source of the disease, according to the World Health Organization.

The WHO says a total of 212 people have been confirmed to have contracted the disease since September 2012, and 88 of them have died.

Among those recently infected is a 52 year-old man in Jordan with underlying medical conditions who recently visited Saudi Arabia and is now hospitalized in stable condition, the WHO announced Friday.

Saudi Arabia is at the center of the MERS outbreak. It has recorded 66 deaths so far.

Health authorities in the kingdom earlier this week closed the emergency unit at one of the biggest hospitals in Jiddah for disinfection after 11 people in the city became infected, including two who later died. A nurse at the hospital was among those who fell ill.

Other Mideast countries that have reported cases of infection include Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. A small number of cases have been diagnosed in Europe and North Africa.

Explore further: MERS fears prompt ER closure at Saudi hospital (Update)

Related Stories

MERS fears prompt ER closure at Saudi hospital (Update)

April 8, 2014
The main public hospital in the Saudi city of Jeddah has closed its emergency room after a rise in cases of the MERS virus among medical staff, the health ministry said Tuesday.

Another Saudi MERS death raises kingdom toll to 67

April 9, 2014
Saudi health authorities announced on Wednesday another death caused by the MERS virus in the capital Riyadh, bringing the nationwide toll to 67.

Saudi MERS death toll rises to 66

April 7, 2014
Saudi health authorities have reported the deaths of another two men from the MERS coronavirus, bringing the death toll from the respiratory disease in the worst hit country to 66.

New deaths from MERS virus reported in the Gulf

December 3, 2013
Health authorities in the capital of the United Arab Emirates say a woman has died from a SARS-like virus that has been centered in neighboring Saudi Arabia.

Saudi declares new death from MERS virus

June 24, 2013
A Saudi man has died from the MERS virus, bringing the kingdom's death toll from the SARS-like infection to 34, the ministry of health said on Monday.

Saudi Arabia reports 1 more death from new virus

March 24, 2014
Saudi Arabia says a man has died from a new respiratory virus related to SARS, bringing to 64 the deaths in the kingdom at the center of the outbreak.

Recommended for you

A large-scale 'germ trap' solution for hospitals

July 26, 2017
When an infectious airborne illness strikes, some hospitals use negative pressure rooms to isolate and treat patients. These rooms use ventilation controls to keep germ-filled air contained rather than letting it circulate ...

Male hepatitis B patients suffer worse liver ailments, regardless of lifestyle

July 25, 2017
Why men with hepatitis B remain more than twice as likely to develop severe liver disease than women remains a mystery, even after a study led by a recent Drexel University graduate took lifestyle choices and environments ...

Researchers report new system to study chronic hepatitis B

July 25, 2017
Scientists from Princeton University's Department of Molecular Biology have successfully tested a cell-culture system that will allow researchers to perform laboratory-based studies of long-term hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. ...

Mind-body therapies immediately reduce unmanageable pain in hospital patients

July 25, 2017
Mindfulness training and hypnotic suggestion significantly reduced acute pain experienced by hospital patients, according to a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Research examines lung cell turnover as risk factor and target for treatment of influenza pneumonia

July 24, 2017
Influenza is a recurring global health threat that, according to the World Health Organization, is responsible for as many as 500,000 deaths every year, most due to influenza pneumonia, or viral pneumonia. Infection with ...

Scientists propose novel therapy to lessen risk of obesity-linked disease

July 24, 2017
With obesity related illnesses a global pandemic, researchers propose in the Journal of Clinical Investigation using a blood thinner to target molecular drivers of chronic metabolic inflammation in people eating high-fat ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.